What would it be like if the dissatisfied public were able to sue their MPs for breach of contract? Though MPs take office without signing any legal documents, they are entering into an oral contract. Whatever they say, the promises they make, should constitute that oral contract. Aren’t they supposed to swear on the Bible to uphold their duties, etc.?
It would be very difficult to prove breach of contract, of course, unless it was Alistair Darling announcing a tax increase. But, what if it could be proved that the MP was essentially not doing anything? What if they are only paying lip service to their office? Maybe we should have CCTV cameras in place throughout Whitehall and anywhere else that these MPs claim they are doing their work. Would any of these measures make MPs any more accountable than they currently are?
I am not as familiar with political rhetoric in the UK, but in the US, politicians love to say how they consider it a privilege to serve their constituents. Wow, such a privilege that they want more and more compensation for doing it. But the US politicians can vote for pay increases for themselves. Here, it appears that they have to appeal to the public, even though the public does not vote for the pay increase.
The so-called “court of public opinion” has more power in the UK. Yet, it is not enough to remove an ineffective MP from power. “No-confidence” votes here, as in the US, only applies to leaders such as governors and PMs. Impeachments have been publicised in recent years in the US, but I have not heard of any in the UK. Then there are “election recalls” that I have never witnessed. What is available for constituents to remove their MP if they feel they are not living up to their job? Do they really have to wait until the PM calls for another election to have them removed? Can the public create enough of an outcry for an “election recall”?
It is unfortunate for Mr. John Taylor to have failed in his suit against Ms. Ann Keen. That could have served a precedent and it would have been a very interesting one. However, as I said, it would have been difficult for him to prove that Ms. Keen did not do anything for him. She did not show up but sent a man in to represent her, saying that she did everything she could in the last 10 years. I cannot understand how, if she did her very best, she could not have managed to get him some compensation. The poor man was unjustly convicted and served a prison sentence. The conviction was overturned, so shouldn’t he have received compensation? A WWII veteran who can’t get compensation for a squashed conviction when real criminals are paid to leave jail early? What are we coming to? Perhaps, Ms. Keen might have done a better job had she not been more concerned about finding appropriate accommodation in London and living a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the taxpayer.